Also read: 3Rs of a Successful Toastmaster
How many times, we try to take such shortcuts and get stuck in our life, career and even in Toastmasters. Sometime or the other, we end up paying the price for it. For example, all of us join Toastmasters with the intention to improve our self. However, after joining the movement, some of us get side tracked by awards and recognition. Some of us rush to complete our projects and do speeches just for the sake of doing them.
Let me share with you an interesting incident that happened, recently. An Area Governor called me on a Friday evening and said “Saro! I have a Toastmaster who has been with the movement for 2+ years. He has completed all the roles from the CL manual, except for playing the Contest Chairman role. Every time there is a contest, he signs-up to be a contestant and skips the opportunity to become a Contest Chairman. Even this time, he is a contestant in my Area contest. However, I want him to play the role of a Contest Chairman and get a CL credit for his role. Can I do that?” I first thanked her for reaching out to me for consultation. I told the Area Governor, “Mme! The role of a Contest Chairman is to form a team, coach the team members, take care of logistics, and make sure that every role player does their job well on the contest day. If you are a contestant, you cannot do any running around on the day of the contests. I personally feel that it is not appropriate to make someone play dual roles in a contest – that too heavy lifting roles such as Contestant & Contest Chairman. Moreover, TM rulebook doesn't allow a contestant to be a role player during the contests. So, there is a chance for someone in the crowd to challenge you on the day of the Area Contests”. The Area Governor was trying very hard to convince me that she wants him to complete his CL at the earliest, so that the club and the area can get a CL credit. I asked her "If he has been with Toastmasters for 2 years and still hasn't completed his CL...Why can't he wait for another 3 months to conduct a club level contest to get the Contest Chairman credit?" She finally accepted to take him off from the Contest Chairman role.
Also read: 5Ps of a successful speech contest
It is not just new Toastmasters who are trying to complete their CCs & CLs in a hurry. I have seen a few senior Toastmasters, who rush through their communication and leadership assignments to just add a DTM to their title. The “so called” DTMs continue to pace back ‘n forth on the stage thinking that they are “using the stage”. The “so called” DTMs cannot conduct a 30 minutes educational workshop, after which at least a handful of participants would stop-by to say “Sir! I liked your session”. The “so called” DTMs cannot inspire even 5 members with their speeches. What makes you really distinguished, the title or your actions? Recently, I read a news that “Mahatma Gandhi’s spectacles were bought for $1.8 million”. I was wow-struck when I heard that. DTM title is just a name tag… the value of the tag is decided by the person who wears it.
When leaders take shortcuts to achieve results, the results are not long lasting. It is like building an empire on top of a sand castle. The next time you take a short cut think twice – “Are short cuts really worth it?”